I was getting on nicely with the next Ellie story when the copy editing for FALSE ACCOUNT arrived. Late. One copy was put in the post to me but didn’t materialise till we were all flapping around in a panic because of its non-arrival, only to reach me at the same time as a second copy which had hurriedly been run off by the publisher for me. That put us behind schedule a good few days. I was warned that I had been allocated a copy editor new to me, who was very ‘thorough.’ Normally it takes me a week to deal with the typos, misunderstandings and queries that arise when a second and third person looks at my stories. This time it took . . . a fortnight. Um. Yes. This copy editor thought she could improve on my style which may be faulty, but it is the way I write. So a great number of her suggested changes were, in my opinion, unnecessary and had to be marked as such. I don’t think I’ve ever written ‘stet’ so many times in my life before. To be fair, she had picked up a number of things which needed more explanation.
My biggest problem in writing this book is how to write about an acid attack. (It’s all right! Nobody gets hurt!) No, my problem was how much to reveal about the product containing the nastiest of acids, which is readily available. You will probably have noticed that I never give too much detail about how to commit a crime, even though I have had to bone up on it myself beforehand. In this case, I consulted a man whose company does contract cleaning, my own wonderful cleaner, and the internet. Now that sounds all right, doesn’t it? But, as soon as I started to research acid attacks on my computer, the sites closed down on me. I think that’s reassuring. If annoying from a writer’s point of view.
I have had yet another nice review in for MURDER BY SUGGESTION. This is from Booklist, and it says: ‘It’s another madcap murder mystery . . . a British cozy on speed, Heley’s latest is frenetic, action-packed, and clever – all that, and the redoubtable supersleuth Ellie Quicke cavorting in high style.’ Isn’t that nice?
Finally the Methodist Recorder arranged for my next short story to be published on September 14th. It’s called ‘It’s not my problem!’ Bruce, who’s still suffering from the effects of a mugging by a group of youths, is asked to counsel a local lad who’s bent on revenging himself for a similar encounter. When Jimson turns up, he’s hooked into his music and apparently not listening to anything Bruce says. And then he produces a wicked-looking knife . . . and who is going to listen to who? If you’d like a copy and can’t get it in the ordinary way, let me know, and I’ll email it to you for free.
And now back to work on MURDER FOR GOOD, which is the twentieth Ellie Quicke. It’s going quite well, but Oh my goodness! What a number of deaths we do have here!
A blessing; may the autumn television schedules bring you some good light entertainment to balance the stresses of life today.